Port of Los Angeles shows growth for 2012, despite end of year volume decline

For all of 2012, total container volume—at 8,077,714 Twenty-foot Equivalents (TEU)—were up 1.7 percent compared to 2011. And for the month of December, total volume—at 649,468 TEU—was down 9.4 percent annually.

By ·

The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) saw growth overall in 2012, while December volumes came in on the low side.

For all of 2012, total container volume—at 8,077,714 Twenty-foot Equivalents (TEU)—were up 1.7 percent compared to 2011. This marks the third time that POLA has cracked the 8,000 TEU mark, with 2007 and 2006 being the other two years at 8,355,038 TEU and 8,469,853 TEU, respectively.

And for the month of December, total volume—at 649,468 TEU—was down 9.4 percent annually. Imports for the month—at 296,874 TEU—dipped 6.7 percent, and exports—at 147,417 TEU—were down 16.4 percent. Empty containers—at 588,154 TEU—were down 1.44 percent.

“We had a soft last couple of months to end 2012, especially November and December,” said POLA Director of Communications Philip Sanfield in an interview. “But for the year, even with the labor dispute, we topped 8,000 TEU, which has only happened twice before. That is good news for us when looking at 2012 as a whole. We had incremental growth at 1.7 percent annually but were tracking closer to 4 or 5 percent prior to the last 3 or 4 months of the year, making for a soft end of the year.”

As previously reported, November’s decline at POLA was partially attributed to a vessel service shift from Los Angeles to Long Beach and cargo delays resulting from the first few days of the labor dispute which impacts both POLA and POLB in early November before a tentative agreement was struck.

As for 2013, Sanfield said POLA does not see a lot of growth on the global trade front. But he did point out that January 2012 volume was up about 15 percent over 2011 at 698,715 TEU. That does not portend similar success for January 2013, due to a relatively softer economy, he said, adding that the early 2013 focus calls for slow growth.

“We are likely looking at another year of that unless something significant changes on the global front,” he said.

Ben Hackett, founder of maritime consultancy Hackett Associates shared similar insights for 2013 growth in a recent interview.

In an interview with LM, Hackett said that U.S.-bound import growth is expected in 2013 but at a slower pace than in 2012.

“Uncertainty is the main reason for this,” he said. “First, there was the Fiscal Cliff concern, which has since been resolved somewhat. But tax increases will take disposable income out of the system. The next level of uncertainty is the debt ceiling, which will likely cause consumers to save more money. Things are not the same as they have been over the last 20-to-30 years. Growth is slowing down due to things like globalization coming more into balance and consumers being more hesitant and qualified in terms of what they are buying, which is influencing purchasing patterns. The boom days seem to be over.”

Hackett added that there currently is too much ocean carrier capacity relative to demand, with carriers still not removing as much capacity as is needed to get the market back to an acceptable equilibrium. Instead, carriers remain focused on holding on to market share, he said.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Making TMS an Enterprise Priority
To get the most out of a TMS investment, numerous parties across the organization should lend their expertise.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...